OnCare is a community initiative that improves outcomes for Onondaga County children and youth (ages 5-21) with significant behavioral and emotional challenges and their families by developing a more effective system of services and supports. OnCare is a federally funded project, and uses system of care principles and strategies to improve our local service system.
Providing high quality services and supports to children, youth and families has always been a priority in Onondaga County. In 2009, County Executive Joanne Mahoney supported an application for federal funds to develop an integrated system of care to improve the coordination of services provided by the Onondaga County Departments of Mental Health, Social Services and Probation. In October 2009, Onondaga County was awarded a $9 million, six-year grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.samhsa.gov) to develop our local system of care.
A major focus of OnCare is developing effective partnerships between the major systems that serve children and youth: mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, education, developmental disability services and youth development programs. OnCare works with a wide range of community stakeholders, including youth and family members, to increase the services and supports available to youth and families.
The target population of OnCare are children and youth ages 5-21 with serious emotional and behavioral challenges, with a special focus on:
- Children and youth in residential care or at-risk of residential care
- Youth involved in multiple service systems (mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, special education)
- Minority populations that are overrepresented in out-of-home placements
- Youth transitioning from the children’s mental health system to the adult mental health system (16 to 21)
OnCare is a collaborative system of caring and support that provides what families need for their children and youth with emotional or behavioral challenges to be happy and successful in the home, school and community.
- Cultural and Linguistic Competence
- Expansion of community-based services
- Broad, inclusive governance structure
- Positive youth development